left-Katherine Baldwin, right-Julia Anderson

Upper Arlington collaborates on art project for local display

By Grace Moody, ’14

What began last year as just another art assignment for Alicia McGinty’s Designing with Materials classes has turned into a long-term, community-wide project. Students across the district are collaborating to create fabric panels that artistically show what Upper Arlington means to them. When completed, the panels will be displayed throughout the community, as a quilt.

The premise of this art quilt project explores the essential question: What does it mean to be part of the Upper Arlington community? Through art, the goal is that those involved will reinforce the importance of community in their lives by the design and message that they convey on their 12-by-18 inch fabric panel.

Seniors Kellye McGlumphy and Callie Zimmerman are working with McGinty to help the elementary school classes create their quilts. McGlumphy and Zimmerman took McGinty’s Designing with Materials class last year and are now using their work with the art quilt as their senior capstone project.

The two plan to go to the elementary schools to help the kids with their quilts. Each class within the elementary schools will come up with a design that each student in the class will follow while making his or her fabric panel.

This project was funded by a grant from the Upper Arlington Education Foundation. Barb Hardy, a former UAHS art teacher who retired in 1993, donated $100,000 to the UAEF to be used for visual arts.

With this grant from the UAEF, the art department bought white muslin, a cotton material to be used for the quilts. McGinty’s art classes then created fabric and colors to be put with the muslin to create the boutique fabrics. These fabrics, made at the high school, are being brought to other schools throughout the community.

McGinty hopes to gain participation from various residents and generations throughout UA. Among the different generations in the community, McGinty knows that the importance of community will be different for not just each generation, but each person.

“For all different generations it’s going to be different things, or all different people, it’s going to mean all different things,” she said.

One way McGinty hopes to include more of the community in the project is to host a quilting course within the next couple of months.

“I’m also doing a night course with Melissa Hasebrook [Language Arts teacher] during October and November, so we’ll have moms come in and create a quilt too,” McGinty said.

On Jan. 27, the panels will be displayed together at the 2014 State of the City Address, an event which consists of a speech, a year in review video and a 2014 slideshow.

“We’re never sewing them together; they’re always going to be separate, but they’ll be close together,” McGinty said.

After the quilt is displayed to the community at the State of the City of Address, the various fabric panels will be separated and then permanently displayed throughout UA.

“We’re going to hang them together in different locations throughout Upper Arlington,” McGinty said. “The idea is then it will rotate, so they will switch them around. So the first year they will go where they were created.”

McGinty hopes that through this project students and residents will see the importance of community in their lives.

“I see kids when they’re finishing up, so at the high school level. You hear a lot of times, ‘I’m not coming back here,’” McGinty said. “But then you get out and you realize what a great community UA is. We tend to have a lot of people who grow up here and then come back.”

After creating a quilt last year, McGlumphy was able to see the importance of community in her life.

“We have great spirit and sensitivity,” McGlumphy said. “Everyone helps everyone. Most kids I would think would say that [growing up in UA] shaped who they are, [by] having that solid background and people to support you from all angles.”

McGlumphy is excited to see the final product and how the quilt displays Upper Arlington in a positive light.

“Everyone’s portrayal of what community is and what Upper Arlington is will all come together through this one project,” McGlumphy said. “I think it’s neat to see all those aspects of UA and the community as a whole.”

photo courtesy Alicia McGinty